A great coloniser : the Rev. Dr. Thomas Burns, pioneer minister of Otago and nephew of the poet
Chapter XIV. — The Sailing of the First Party
The Sailing of the First Party.
I always hold that religion is the great State-building principle; these colonists could create a new State because they were already a church, since the church, so at least I hold, is the soul of the State; where there is a church a State grows up in time; but if you find a State which is not also in some sense a church, you find a State which is not long for this world.
—Sir John R. Seeley ("The Expansion of England.")
On June 29, 1846, Sir Robert Peel resigned after the repeal of the Corn Laws, and Lord John Russell formed a Ministry, with Earl Grey, formerly Lord Howick, a strong supporter of colonisation in New Zealand, as the Colonial Secretary. This was the news which thrilled the advocates of the Scottish Colony a few days after Burns had commenced his ministry at Portobello. Captain (afterwards Sir George) Grey had succeeded Captain Fitzroy as Governor of New Zealand. The New Zealand Company, which had been on the eve of dissolution, was resuscitated, and entered into an agreement with the Colonial Office, as from April 6, 1847, which permitted fresh efforts at colonisation, and promised the Company £136,000 for assisting its efforts in this direction. It was, however, stipulated that if, at the end of three years, the Company should find itself unable to carry on, the Government should become possessed of all assets and take control of the operations.
In his new sphere of work Burns found himself face to face with many difficulties. The Free Church building in which the congregation worshipped was a large one, with galleries all round. It was situated in Regent street, Portobello, and was built by the Secession Church 20 years before Burns became the minister. The congregation, page 139which was small, had become deeply involved in debt on account of the erection of so large an edifice. To add to its troubles the charge had been unfortunate in its choice of a pastor, and the cause fell into such ruin that the church was closed and offered for sale. In 1834 the Rev. David Crawford, a Relief minister, reopened the church, and when the Disruption occurred Mr Crawford generously resigned in order that the Free Church might make a fresh start with the charge. The building was purchased for a thousand guineas, and the Free Church adopted the congregation, which included 140 members of the Relief persuasion, and others who did not hold Free Church principles. The building was burnt down on November 8, 1874, but the United Presbyterians rebuilt on the site, and the church standing there is now known as the Regent Street United Free Church. Mr Burns's old congregation built a beautiful Gothic structure in Hamilton street, known as St. Philip's United Free Church, over which the Rev. William Farquharson, M.A., 1now happily officiates as minister in succession to the Rev. Thomas Burns, with a membership of nearly 1000 persons.
Mr Burns succeeded the Rev. Mr Cowe, who demitted the charge on October 19, 1845; and, as has been already stated, was inducted on Thursday, June 25, 1846. There was no manse in those days, and Mr Burns lived at 2 Rosefield Place with his wife and family. With characteristic energy the new minister announced his intention of visiting the congregation, with the help of the elders. A start was made with a library for the church and Sunday School, and an effort was put forward in the direction of building a manse. But, despite all that Burns could do, the cause did not prosper in those days as he hoped. Perhaps the page 140fact that the minister's heart was still with his dream colony had something to do with the situation. But other facts were sufficient to account for most of the obstacles which impeded the progress of the work. The following extracts from his letters show something of the course of events:—
I have just got over the laborious work of visiting my congregation, and go down to Jedburgh to-morrow in the capacity of Commissioner from the Presbytery of Ayr, and the Communion here is on Sabbath next. … There is plenty of hard work in this neglected place (July 27, 1848). … I find myself encountered everywhere with a smile of derision, and my coming to Portobello regarded as a fortunate escape from a most disastrous and hopeless connection, and that in spite of all I can say to the contrary … Macfarlane 2 has not gone back to Wellington. He is preaching to a handful of people in his old church in Paisley (October 3). … They have got me appointed Vice-convener of the Colonial Committee of the Free Church, an office which is sufficiently laborious, and which I could fill up my time well enough without. But there is nothing for it but hard work for all parties in these times (December 24). …
The congregation is so heterogeneous. A large section are "Relief," who stuck to the walls of the church when the Free Church bought it from the Relief body. And these are all "voluntaries," in favour of Sabbath morning and evening trains, their religion mainly formal. Another section are "residuaries," who by some concatenation of circumstances are found within the pale of the Free Church. The elders and deacons are, without exception, made up of these two classes. The third and best class consist almost altogether of ladies —many of God's people among them. … My predecessor was driven from his post by the difficulties he had to contend with. The sterner stuff of which the present incumbent is composed —whilst it may prevent him from yielding to them—may nevertheless shut him up to such a stringent exercise of the discipline of the Church as to purge the congregation of from one-third to one-half of its present members. In truth I am page 141often in the thought that this should be done at any rate. For it is not a Free Church congregation, either in spirit or character or conversation in the world. In these circumstances the thoughts of Otago have lost none of their charm for me. At the same time, they have raised up a new question of duty, viz., how far I would be justified in relinquishing my post whilst matters are in so very precarious a conjuncture. It is a mighty relief … to cast oneself upon God and hear Him saying: "Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." Meanwhile, my feeling is one of suspense and uncertainty, or rather, a "patient waiting upon God."
I have thought it right to be thus open with you as to my own feelings and position. I cannot but feel an amount of responsibility in connection with the Otago scheme. The probability is that if either of the two of us had withdrawn, the other would have done so, too (at least, I can speak for myself), in which case where would have been the Otago scheme at this day? Probably in the hands of some worldlings, with radicalism, Chartism, voluntaryism, or other equally bad "isms" sticking to them, who would have settled down in that fine position—a horde of ungodliness and barbarism, a centre of contamination whence evil issues would proceed to the temporal and eternal injury of all within reach.
During Burns's ministry at Portobello his interest in the southern enterprise never slackened. He assisted in getting signatures of the members of the Lay Association to a letter addressed to Lord John Russell on behalf of the scheme. He was frequently at the office of Mr Dowling in South St. Andrew street, Edinburgh, and he complained in his letters to Cargill of the lack of attention given there to the business of the Scotch Colony.
The appointment of Mr John M'Glashan as secretary of the movement in Edinburgh was an event of considerable importance. His office was at 5 George street. He was a citizen of Edinburgh by birth and education. Born in 1802, he was educated at the famous High School and the University, and admitted in 1824 as a solicitor with right to practise in the Supreme Court of Scotland. He wrote page 142some books on the law of Scotland, which were regarded as valuable contributions to the subject. He held the post of secretary to the Lay Association of the Otago Settlement from August, 1847, for five years, and gave valuable advice to the Colonial Office regarding a Constitution for New Zealand when the Bill was under the consideration of the Government. He was an exceedingly able secretary, and rendered very important services to the settlement and province of Otago. After the Lay Association ceased to exist Mr John M'Glashan set up his home in Dunedin, being welcomed on arrival from Scotland in 1853 by a public banquet held in his honour. His brother Edward was also a member of the Association in Edinburgh, and preceded John as a settler in Otago by some years. The name of John M'Glashan is commemorated by the John M'Glashan College, a boys' school situated in the old seat of the family at Balmacewan, Dunedin, which was donated by his surviving daughters, the foundation stone of the present buildings having been laid in 1918. The fine traditions already established in the school under the present headship of Mr C. M. Gilray constitutes an excellent monument to the distinguished Secretary of the Otago Association. He died as the result of a fall from his horse on November 2, 1864.
Burns was in constant correspondence with Dr Aldcorn as to the final form of the new prospectus, which contained copious references to the example and influence of the Pilgrim Fathers of New England. In the light of the writings of the great Puritan divine and president of Harvard College, Cotton Mather, Burns suggested the following headings:—"Important Changes Made by the British Government and the New Zealand Company for the Benefit of the New Zealand Settlers"; "The Great Encouragement Which These Changes Afford to Emigration";page 143"The Otago Settlement to be on the Model of the New England Colonies of North America Founded by the Pilgrim Fathers." Although these suggestions were not pressed they were like straws which showed the direction of the wind.
We have already seen that there were many fields open to the emigrants of last century—America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Fears of earthquakes and the Maori hostilities kept many away from the distant isles of the southern Pacific. Rivalry was sometimes keen between the advocates of the respective countries. A definite bid for Scottish recruits was being made in 1847 by a prominent visitor from Australia. Dr John Dunmore Lang, the first Presbyterian minister settled in Australia, had commenced his work in Sydney at the Scots' Church in 1823. In 1845 he visited Moreton Bay settlement in Southern Queensland; and he was so favourably impressed with the resources of the districts in the vicinity of Brisbane that he travelled to Scotland for the purpose of inducing the people of his native land to settle in Moreton Bay. He gathered many worthy people together, including some with whom Burns had been negotiating, and despatched them in three vessels which he chartered for the purpose. The first ship was the Fortitude, after which Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, is named. She arrived at her destination early in 1849. Burns referred to Dr Lang's visit in one of his letters to Cargill, dated February 6, 1847.
Mrs William Cargill and her family were living at Portobello during the period of the ministry of Burns, and are frequently mentioned in his letters to his colleague in London. Sickness made itself felt in both homes during the year. Mrs Burns and Mrs Cargill exchanged visits.page 144The pastoral influence of the minister was very helpful during the serious illness of one of Mrs Cargill's daughters.
The last letter preserved to us from the long correspondence between Burns and Cargill during the critical years of launching the Otago scheme was written on April 5, 1847. It strikes that practical note which constantly resounded through all of Burns's communications. It foreshadows a revival in the prospects of the beloved enterprise:—
I have just spoken to Mr Kennedy, the Free Church bookseller, and he is perfectly willing that his name and address should be used in your advertisement as that to which applicants may in the meantime address their letters of inquiry to Dr Aldcorn.
P.S.—Heard from my son at Hongkong, who has had six and a half months' voyage—likes his profession, ship, and officers, and must now be on his homeward voyage.
On May 14, 1847, satisfactory negotiations between the New Zealand Company and the Otago Lay Association were effected, and the "Terms of Purchase"—which underwent frequent revision in details between 1845 and 1849—were presented in a modified form. We have seen the nature of the division of function between the contracting parties, and this may be a suitable place to indicate briefly the main items of the arrangements regarding the disposal of the "properties" in Otago, the block consisting of 144,600 acres.
Each of the 2400 properties had three allotments, one in the town (a quarter of an acre), one suburban (ten acres), and one rural (fifty acres). The price of a property was fixed at £120 10s, being at the rate of 40s per acre. Of these properties, 2000 were for sale, 100 were reserved for municipal purposes, and 100 were available page 145for purchase by the Trustees for religious and educational uses. In addition, 200 properties were to be held by the New Zealand Company. If the total sales should be effected, the value, at £2, would be £289,200; of which £108,450 was to be utilised for the emigration of labourers, £72,300 for surveys and civil purposes, £72,300 for the New Zealand Company, and £36,150 for religious and educational uses. The rural allotments of 50 acres each were located in the Taieri, Tokomairiro, and Molyneux districts. The suburban allotments lay in North-east Valley (which then began much nearer to the centre of Dunedin than at present), East and West Harbour, Anderson's Bay, Roslyn, St. Kilda, and the surrounding areas of the town. It was agreed that five years should be allowed for the Association to sell the properties, in default of which the Company should have the option of stepping in and disposing of the balance of unsold land as it might deem best. Should the Association succeed, however, in selling all the properties, it would be in a position to apply for the remainder of the block beyond the 144,600 acres granted to it. These lofty expectations were never realised.
The work of surveying the Otago Block had been in the hands of Mr Davison at Port Chalmers for some time, when Mr Kettle, accompanied by his young wife, returned to the scene as the chief surveyor. He engaged a large staff of assistants and labourers at Wellington, who sailed with him to Otago in the Mary Catherine, which arrived on February 23, 1846. Port Chalmers was first surveyed; the harbour was sounded; and Mr Kettle chose the principal sites of towns in the rural districts. The great river Matou, called Molyneux by Captain Cook, had by this time received a fresh name, the Clutha, the Gaelic name for the Clyde, as a pleasing recognition of the place page 146of Glasgow in the Otago scheme; and the town became, by the same token, Balclutha. Messrs Park and Davison received appointments as assistant surveyors under Mr Kettle, and they laid out Otepoti, the present Dunedin, under the direction of their chief. On July 4, 1847, Mr Kettle, having finished the work of surveying, wrote to Colonel William Wakefield, the Company's Superintendent at Wellington:—
Dunedin is now almost deserted, there being only five houses in the town inhabited, and we have for the present almost given up hopes of the arrival of the settlers.
In Scotland, however, the prospects of the enterprise were becoming brighter each month. On August 10, 1847, a public meeting under the Lay Association was held at the Trades Hall, Glasgow3. In the course of the advertisement of the meeting it was stated that:—
Those who can subscribe to, or participate in, the religious and educational institutions of Otago will be received into its community with welcome, and those who may prefer to have a colony of their own will have an opportunity of informing themselves how that object may be attained, the means for doing so being open to all.
The chair was taken by Mr Fox Maule. The "Address to the People of Scotland" was submitted to the meeting, and adopted for widespread circulation. It was resolved that October should be aimed at as the time for the sailing of the first party, in order to arrive at Otago in the autumn. The two committees, of Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively, were appointed, with John M'Glashan and Dr Aldcorn representing the two main cities in a secretarial capacity. In the course of time this work devolved completely upon Mr M'Glashan until the failure of the Association. The Otago Journal was started under his fostering care, and ran through eight page 147numbers between 1848 and 1852. Full sets of this interesting journal are now extremely scarce, although the numbers were at one time plentifully circulated.
Following upon the action taken at the meeting, Cargill applied to the directors of the Company to advertise for vessels. On September 22 the advertisement appeared, requesting tenders for the hire of two vessels of not less than 450, nor more than 650 tons, one of which was to sail from London, and one from Glasgow about October 30. The result was the choice of the John Wickliffe, a new and fast ship of 662 tons, to sail under Captain Cargill from London; and the Philip Laing, of 547 tons, owned by Messrs Laing and Ridley, of Liverpool, a vessel of the old-fashioned bruise-water type, to sail with the Scottish party from the Clyde on or after October 30.
Meanwhile, the re-appointment of the Rev. Thomas Burns as minister of the Colony was proposed; and the faithful friend and champion of the movement since its adoption by the Free Church saw at length the prospect of the fulfilment of his cherished plans and expectations. In October Burns applied to the Presbytery of Edinburgh for release from the parish of Portobello with a view to acceptance of the post of minister with the first party for Otago. The Presbytery gave the matter very sympathetic consideration, and spoke of Burns and his qualifications for the office in terms of the highest commendation. An account of the proceedings is preserved in the New Zealand Journal of October 9, 1847.
The Clerk said he had received some commissions of considerable importance. "At Edinburgh, October 5, 1847, which day the Colonial Committee of the Free Church being constituted. Inter alia: The following documents were laid before the meeting, viz.: 1. Extract page 148minute of the Committee of the Otago Association relative to the appointment of the Rev. Thomas Burns. 2. Letter from the Secretary. 3. Terms of Purchase. 4. Deed of Constitution. 5. Bond to Mr Burns. Captain Cargill also appeared for the Lay Association, and was heard in support of their application. Thereafter the Committee having deliberated, resolved that while they cannot contemplate the loss of Mr Burns's brotherly counsels and cooperation as a member of this Committee without sincere pain and sorrow, and while they are deeply impressed with the loss the Church at home and the congregation of Portobello in particular will sustain by means of his removal, yet, having respect to the vast importance of the projected settlement of Otago and to the principles as regards secular education and religious ordinances on which it is to be carried out, as these have been sanctioned and approved by the General Assembly, having respect also to Mr Burns's former appointment and to his views as expressed to the Committee this day, agree to confirm and sanction his appointment to Otago, and direct the secretary to lay the above-mentioned documents, along with an extract of this minute, before the Presbytery of Edinburgh at their meeting to-morrow, that they may take such steps in the matter as to them may seem meet." The following letter from Mr Burns was then read:—
Portobello, October 6, 1847.
—Having been reappointed to the situation of first minister of the Colony of Otago, I think it due to the Presbytery to state at once how far my mind is made up with regard to it. I beg to say that the subject is not new to me.4 Difficulties arose which rendered it prudent to suspend the enterprise. So strongly, however, was my mind impressed page 149with the idea that the hand of God was in it and the cause of Christ connected with it that I was led to cling for three years to the undertaking amidst sacrifices on the part of myself and family in the expectation that it would certainly be carried out. But the call to my present charge reached me and warned me that I ought to cling to it no longer. Now, again, that the appointment comes back to me a second time under circumstances so much more favourable and with details and arrangements so greatly improved I cannot help feeling that its claims are stronger than ever. I cannot think of the accelerated rate at which emigration is proceeding in this country, of the fatal facility with which the emigrant relinquishes his religious habits when he finds himself unprovided with public ordinances in his newly-adopted country—of the deplorable amount of religious destitution already existing in the colonies—without feeling that it would not be easy to overrate the importance of any well-devised scheme, such as I conceive this to be, by which the work of British emigration might be so managed as either greatly to mitigate or altogether prevent the dreadful evil referred to. After this statement of my views and feelings my reverend fathers and brethren will be prepared for the intimation which I beg now respectfully to submit to them, viz., that it is a very decided feeling with me that I have a strong call of duty to accept of this appointment.
Dr Candlish spoke wisely on the position, and moved that the congregation be cited in the usual way, and that the Presbytery meet again on the same day fortnight, to receive the report of a special committee on the subject. At the next meeting the Presbytery resolved to approve of the appointment of Mr Burns to the Otago Colony, and expressed the general opinion of his excellence as a Christian minister and his special qualifications for the office to which he had been called.
Mr James Blackie, who had been appointed teacher of the school in Portobello in September, 1846, was one of the prominent workers in Mr Burns's congregation, acting as clerk of the Deacons' Court. In this young man page 150Burns found the first schoolmaster for the proposed Colony of Otago. He accepted the position offered to him. And so at length the long and difficult search for a suitable teacher which had been commenced under Rennie's regime in 1843 and had been beset by many and great obstacles was satisfactorily terminated. Mr Blackie was so highly esteemed by the pupils of the Portobello School that they presented him with an inscribed desk, which is one of the treasures of the Early Settlers' Museum in Dunedin.
With a satisfactory constitution in the form of documents entitled "The Institutes for Church and School," a "Bond for the Rev. Mr Burns," and a "Deed of Trust," the legal and moral interests of the Settlement were safeguarded in so far as paper guarantees could secure the future course of events. The Deed of Trust provided for the appointment of four "Trustees for Religious and Educational Uses," to whom was remitted the right to control the funds for the objects specified and to expend the same in purchasing lands and erecting buildings for church and school purposes. These Trustees were specified in the "Deed of Trust," which was dated November 6, 1847, as "the Rev. Thomas Burns, minister of the First Church, Otago; Edward Lee, gentleman, Otago; Edward M'Glashan, of Salisbury place, Edinburgh; and William Cargill, agent at Otago for the New Zealand Company."5 In addition to the matters already enumerated, the Deed promised "£300 per annum for First Church during the incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Burns, to whom the said Trustees have granted provisional page 151bond for that sum; and so far as not required for immediate purposes, they shall lay out the funds in heritable security, and uplift and expend and reinvest, as may be requisite; paying the stipends to ministers and salaries to schoolmasters from the interest and income and accumulating surplus, or other interest with its stock; and they are also empowered to purchase lands, as provided by article sixth of the arrangements aforesaid." As the properties at Otago were sold the proportion of one-eighth was to be paid to the Trustees for the purchase of land as heritable property on behalf of religious and educational uses. The "Institutes" constituted the Church of Otago, "with the schools attached thereto," as part of the Free Church of Scotland, until the formation of a Presbytery which should be strong enough to function independently of the Home Church; and they contemplated the possibility of the foundation of a college in New Zealand. The reference to a college occurs in many of the papers connected with the movement whose rise we have been tracing. It was mentioned in the letter of Cargill to Aldcorn in October, 1847 6amidst the considerations brought out by the analogy of the Pilgrim Fathers of New England; and it doubtless reflected the sense of the necessity of providing for a liberal education along the lines of a high school, and even a University, together with provision for training in theology. This was quite in harmony with Scottish zeal for education, following upon the great national movement led by John Knox in the sixteenth century.page 152
The first ballot for the determination of the right of the order of choice of the several allotments described above in connection with each property took place at New Zealand House, London, on November 10, 1847. The preference of selection in regard to each kind of allotment thus fixed was to be put into effect at the sales of land which were postponed until after the settlers had arrived on the soil of their future home. The figures show 104 purchases, 69 by individuals, 9 by the Church Trust, 9 by the local municipality, and 17 by the New Zealand Company. At this juncture the Company, through its directors, "liberally agreed to make an advance of £3500 for a church, manse, schoolhouse, and other purposes connected with the Trust, to be repaid out of future funds from land sales," according to the Otago Journal of June, 1848; but one would like to know how much of this money was actually expended in hard cash.7
The secretary of the New Zealand Company, Mr T. C. Harington, issued authority to the responsible officers of the expedition, and copies of his letters to Cargil and Dr Henry Manning, of the John Wickliffe; and the Rev. Thomas Burns and Dr Robert Ramsay, of the Philip Laing, are in the Hocken Library. Cargill was appointed the agent of the Company at a salary of £500 per annum. The terms to the ships' surgeons showed consideration for the well-being of the emigrants. In addition to a free passage, the surgeons were to receive "10s for every adult emigrant landed in the Colony, six children above the age of one year and under 14 being reckoned according to Act of Parliament as one adult; £1 for every birth on board, and a gratuity of £25, but subject to a page 153deduction of £1 for every death." The following letter was addressed by Mr Harington to Burns:—
New Zealand House, November 15, 1847.
—You are aware that Captain Cargill is about to proceed from London to Otago in the ship John Wickliffe as the agent of the New Zealand Company for that Settlement; but that the great body of the first party of settlers being collected from Scotland are to accompany yourself from Greenock in the Philip Laing.
It is considered desirable that a representative of the Company be appointed, both in the latter ship while at sea and after arrival in the Colony, if such arrival happen to precede that of the John Wickliffe. Captain Cargill has submitted your name as the fittest person to undertake this duty, and the Court fully concurring in this opinion, and concluding that it will not be disagreeable to you, have at once adopted the recommendation.
I am accordingly instructed to authorise and request you to act as the agent and representative of the New Zealand Company on board the Philip Laing during the voyage from Glasgow to Otago in New Zealand, and also in that Settlement, until Captain Cargill's arrival in case you arrive there before that gentleman.
You will therefore consider this letter your authority for ordering, superintending, and managing all necessary affairs in the above-mentioned capacity, both during the outward voyage and after your arrival in the Colony if the contingency alluded to shall occur.8
After short delays in the latter stages of preparation the great occasion drew near. The departure of the two Mayflower ships to a new land in the southern portion of New Zealand was imminent. Services were held in the churches of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Greenock to celebrate the sailing of the Scottish pilgrims. The smaller band who were to embark in the John Wickliffe from page 154Gravesend also had their interests remembered by the Rev. William Nicholson in the Church of London Wall prior to their departure under Cargill. The solemn acknowledgment of the guiding hand of God was characteristic of the beginning of both expeditions to Otago.
At Greenock we can imagine the mingled joy and grief written on the faces of the pioneers of the new Colony on board the Philip Laing. We see the hardy young men and comely young women, the children on the crowded deck, the crew on the forecastle, ready when called upon to lift the anchor with a "deep sea chantey such as seamen use at sea." We notice the surgeon, Dr Ramsay, the schoolmaster, Mr Blackie, the master of the ship, Captain A. J. Elles; and, towering in the midst of his family and friends, we see the Rev. Thomas Burns, upon whose noble countenance are recorded thanksgiving and hopefulness, touched with a sense of care and responsibility. Mrs Burns, who has been fully occupied with the many duties which fall to the mother of a family on such an occasion, preserves her natural grace and dignity, although her heart is full. Many visitors have come aboard the ship, including the Rev. Dr M'Farlan, the Rev. Mr Smith, Mr Gilbert Burns, the youngest brother of the minister, who has come from Dublin to say farewell, Mr P. B. Mure Macredie, of Perceton, Mr John M'Glashan, the Edinburgh secretary of the Association, Dr Aldcorn, the staunch champion of the movement, and Mr Alston, from New Zealand House, London, who has supervised the equipment of the vessel for the voyage. The press account describes the "superior qualities" of the passengers, who numbered nearly 250 souls.
On Saturday, November 20, with this large party on board, prayers were offered for a successful voyage, a safe page 155arrival, and the "comfort, prosperity, and happiness of the settlers in the land of their adoption." The Rev. Mr Smith read from Psalmist lxxii: 8, 9, 16, 17, a passage wonderfully appropriate to the circumstances. An address was given by Dr M'Farlan, and then Mr M'Glashan, the secretary, explained the provisions made for the comfort of the passengers, and concluded his remarks by thanking the Lord Provost of Edinburgh (Mr Black) for his present to the library of a copy of the Encyclopædia Britannica. The service was concluded by the benediction, after the singing of the paraphrase:—
O God of Bethel, by Whose hand
Thy people still are fed,
Who through this weary pilgrimage
Hast all our fathers led;
Our vows, our prayers we now present
Before Thy throne of grace;
God of our fathers, be the God
Of their succeeding race.
The sailing of the Philip Laing from the Tail of the Bank was delayed until the following Saturday, November 27, 1847, the anchor being weighed at 2 p.m. From the heights of the beautiful hills around Greenock there were many who watched with tear-dimmed eyes the little ship moving out of the harbour into the sea, and who wondered whether the hopes of a new Scotland in the far-away Southern Ocean would ever be fulfilled. The late autumn afternoon closed in all too soon, and only a dim and distant light told of the ship slowly vanishing into the night. The great enterprise had begun.
1 Mr Farquharson was a fellow-student of the writer of these memoirs when he was at New College, Edinburgh, in 1903-4.
2 Rev. J. Macfarlane left Wellington, N.Z., by the Bella Marina in October, 1844, and remained in Scotland.
3 See account of meeting in N.Z. Journal, August 14, 1847.
4 Here follows the important passage which was quoted in the present work on pages 74-75, giving Burns's view as expressed to Dr Welsh that the enterprise was of the nature of a great missionary undertaking, as well as a promising colonial venture.
5 A copy of this very important legal document can be found on page 38 of the valuable work "The Presbyterian Church Trust, with Historical Narrative." by Rev. Wm. Gillies, Timaru, 1876. The "Institutes" may be found on p. 41. A copy of the "Bond" is in the John M'Glashan collection.
6 See pamphlet entitled "Free Church Colony at Otago in New Zealand," October, 1847. A copy came under my notice in the Turnbull Library, Wellington. The first number of the Otago Journal, in a paragraph entitled "Education in Otago," sketches the proposed college. Its curriculum is to include literary and philosophical studies as well as the classics, mathematics, etc., which form the main subjects taught at a high school.
7 Otago Journal, No. II, p. 1, Early Settlers' Library.